Educational attainment

Why is this important?

Education is important so people can develop the skills and knowledge they need to find employment and gain a high quality of life. Those with few qualifications are at a greater risk of unemployment and are more likely to have lower incomes and fewer employment opportunities than those with higher qualifications.  

Key points

  • In 2013, the most common level of attainment for the population aged over 15 years was a school level qualification (such as NCEA levels 1-3). In the Greater Christchurch urban area, as well as Christchurch City, 31% of people were in this group, 33% in Waimakariri, 36% in Selwyn. Thirty percent of people across New Zealand were similarly qualified.
  • Of those with no qualification, there were 18% in Greater Christchurch and Christchurch City. There were 22% in Waimakariri, 17% in Selwyn, and 19% across New Zealand.
  • Those with a Bachelor’s degree comprised 12% in Greater Christchurch, 13% in Christchurch City, 8% in Waimakariri, 11% in Selwyn and 12% across New Zealand.
  • There were about half as many people with post-graduate qualifications such as Honours, Masters and Doctorates as those with Bachelor’s degrees.


Note this is an interactive chart and you can click on the legend items to change what is shown on the graph.


People in the Waimakariri District had a higher proportion of people with no qualification, school qualification, or tertiary certificates and diplomas than in other areas.

The Selwyn District had the highest proportion of school leaver qualifications but also high proportions of people with tertiary level qualifications compared with other urban areas. These statistics probably reflect Lincoln University and a number of Crown Research Institutes being situated in the District.

Data notes

The census usually resident population count of New Zealand is a count of all people who usually live in, and were present in, New Zealand on census night.

Excluded are:

  • overseas visitors
  • New Zealand residents temporarily overseas.

The census usually resident population count of an area is a count of all people who usually live in that area and were present in New Zealand on census night.

Excluded are:

  • visitors from overseas
  • visitors from elsewhere in New Zealand
  • residents temporarily overseas on census night

Data information and downloads

Data Source

Statistics New Zealand, Census data(external link)

Data Access

Downloads freely available

Date Updated

From 2013 Census, next Census carried out March 2018

Data Table Download

Download tables here [XLS, 22 KB]

Page Updated

June 2018

Data breakdowns available

Geographic  Area

Greater Christchurch Urban Area, Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri territorial authorities, New Zealand

Other variables

2013 numbers, 2006 numbers and percentages

Links to other information and reports